Research proposal guidance

Some general guidelines for writing a research proposal are provided below.Applicants should follow more specific instructions provided by Schools or scholarship application procedures where these are provided.

A good proposal should contain the following elements:

  • Straightforward, descriptive, and informative title.
  • Clear account of exactly what the question is that your research will address.
  • Account of why this question is important and worth investigating.
  • Assessment of how your own research will engage with recent study in the subject.
  • Assessment of the key theoretical, empirical and/or policy literatures to which the study will contribute.
  • Indication of the theoretical/analytical frame that will be utilised by the study.
  • Brief account of the methodology and approach you will take.
  • Discussion of the primary sources that your research will draw upon, including printed books, manuscripts, archives, libraries, or museums.
  • Indicative bibliography of secondary sources that you have already consulted and/or are planning to consult.

The length of the proposal should normally be no more than 1,500 words, not including references.